Glass Beach is a small and interesting black sand beach adjacent to Port Allen, Kauai that is known for deposits of man-made sea glass. The sea glass is the result of discarded bottles and other types of glass that have been broken up and polished by the ocean into tiny glass pebbles. Past photos of Glass Beach often depict a beach glistening with different colors of glass pebbles.
Today, only tiny fragments of glass remain at the beach, the result of decades of glass collecting by both local residents (for yard displays, aquariums, etc.) and tourists for souvenirs.
On almost any given day at the beach, you will still find tourists combing the beach for the last remaining bits of glass. Though new polished glass is constantly being made by the ocean, the process does not keep up with demand.
Oil storage tanks at Port Allen loom over it.
The original polished glass was the result of the beach being used as a dumping ground for discarded items such as automobiles, appliances, and other junk. You can still see the junk, including auto parts, on the rocks of the nearby coastline.
Tiny glass pebbles glisten on the black sand. There’s still some glass to be seen at the beach, mostly clear or white glass. Red glass is especially prized by some collectors. Other rare colors at the beach include blue and green.
Look closely at the rocks and you can see large shards of glass from broken bottles that might eventually end up as tiny glass pebbles on the beach. Nearby Port Allen, and the boats that come in and out of the harbor, probably contribute to the ongoing debris at Sea Glass Beach.
Despite the waste and the industrial surroundings, the black sand beach is actually very picturesque. The oil storage tanks of Port Allen create a dramatic juxtaposition against the natural beauty of the beach.
Glass Beach is best for beachcombing. We’ve never seen people swimming at this beach. Located near the port, this is probably not the best place on the island to go in the water. The historic McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Glass Beach.
There is a short trail that follows the coastline of Kauai beyond the beach. For lack of an official name, we are calling it the Glass Beach Coastal Trail.
The trail starts at the end of Aka Ula Street adjacent to the McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery. The area is not one of the more pristine locations on Kauai. The Port Allen Harbor is nearby and the area is sometimes used as a dumping ground. Nevertheless, the trail has its own beauty, especially in the evenings when the sun casts a certain glow on the coastline.
A lava field extends along the coastline below the trail. There’s even a lava bridge over the water that is totally worth seeing.
The trail extends for about a quarter of a mile before there is a bend that leads to Wahiawa Beach. The beach itself is secluded and somewhat picturesque but the beach water looks heavily silted from runoff. There is a quarry above the beach and we would not recommend going in the water.
This is not a traditional trail and it is very short. But if you’re in the area of Port Allen and Glass Beach, the trail does offer nice views along the coast amidst the crashing waves on the rocks below. It’s just another example of wherever you are on Kauai, the island has something special to offer.
Here are some more photos of Glass Beach:
A bluff overlooking Glass Beach has good views of the beach and surrounding coastline. The McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery is located on the bluff.
Industrial waste on the coastline underneath the bluff. Look closely to see the remains of an axle or similar object.
The view of Glass Beach from the bluff.
We recommend that you do not take any glass from the beach.